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Publishing a Non-fiction Book

June 20th, 2014

It goes without saying that most writers would love to see at least one book on the shelves with their name on the spine. And it is a perfectly achievable goal.  But it isn’t simply a question of sitting down and writing about a favourite topic.  Unless you want to publish the book yourself, you will have to convince a publisher that your book is worth publishing.

When I was planning my latest book, I asked myself three basic questions.  Firstly, what category would my book fall into?  Publishers are very conventional, and if they recognise the type of book you suggest to them, they are far more likely to take it on, as long as it is the type of book they normally publish.  For example, common book categories

include:

• Self-help or ‘how to’ books
• Reference books
• Textbooks and exam guides
• Tracts to persuade readers of a viewpoint
• In-depth explorations or comprehensive coverage of one subject
• Autobiographies or memoirs
• Another book in an established series
• Recognisable types of book such as travel guides, jokes, cookery, diets or children’s activity books
• Books promoting photographs or art work

Fortunately, my proposed book on job hunting fell clearly into the self-help group, so that was OK.

Secondly, was I sure that my book was worth writing?  That meant it had to fill a gap in the market; be a better book than those already available; or take a topic that was already covered in a new direction.  Again, although there are hundreds of books offering job hunting advice, my book was aimed at university students who were not well catered for, and was based on my twelve years’ experience as a university careers adviser.

Finally, did I come across as a credible author and the best person to write this book?  For my cookery book ‘Making the

Most of your Glorious Glut’, for example, I was very lucky to get that published as I had no track record, experience or qualifications in cookery at all.  For the job hunting book, on the other hand, I had spent years as a careers adviser and had also run my own CV business.  Best of all, I had already published other self-help books so they knew that I could complete a project on time and at the required level.

So before you start planning your own books, make sure your answers to these three questions are sound.

 

“A Graduate Guide to Job Hunting in 7 Easy Steps” was published by How To Books on 15 May 2014.

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